It’s that time of year: Construction is in full swing, leaks and teasers are circulating at a breakneck pace, and amusement parks are set to reveal their new additions in a matter of days. This year, Cedar Fair is making their 2018 announcements on August 16th, which happens to be National Roller Coaster Day. At their first quarter earnings call, the chain confirmed that they will be adding four new roller coasters in 2018, and with the amount of development going on, we can expect a major addition to Cedar Point, Kings Dominion, Knott’s Berry Farm, and California’s Great America.
The Roller Coaster Capital of the World has been working on their latest coaster for quite some time now. The park closed Mean Streak, their colossal wooden coaster, last September, and ever since then, manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction has been in charge of transforming the ride into a stunning new steel experience. With each new element put in place, the coaster has begun to take shape, and it’s already clear that Mean Streak’s successor will be one of the wildest IBox coasters to date.
— Cedar Point (@cedarpoint) July 25, 2017
What we know: Rocky Mountain Construction has greatly increased the coaster’s angle of ascent, meaning it will almost certainly reach a height of 200 feet or more. Three inversions have been placed so far, as well as a wide variety of airtime hills and over-banked turns. The layout will likely be shortened from its original length of 5,427 feet, but it will remain one of the longest rides at the park.
What we don’t know: Cedar Point has done a good job keeping their new ride’s name under cover. Several “wanted” posters have been set up throughout FrontierTown, hinting at an outlaw theme. As spotted by WildGravity Travels, the ride seems to be centered around three villains: Blackjack, Chess, and Digger. Could these characters be who Cedar Point referenced in their teaser videos?
Meanwhile, Cedar Point announced via their blog that the public will be invited to a “big ol’ hootenanny” on August 16th at High Noon, so we won’t have to wait long before all the details come to light.
Like Cedar Point, Kings Dominion will improve their old wooden coaster for 2018. As Hurler’s old layout has given way to Rocky Mountain Construction’s magic, the park has taken to social media, leaving weekly cryptic clues as to the new ride’s theme. So far, the teasers have all included a double-T (⊥T), and have hinted at the coaster’s new stats and theme.
It can be a bit KNO⊥TY. pic.twitter.com/FmzFMs7Ssw
— Kings Dominion (@KingsDominionVA) August 1, 2017
What we know: Assuming that we’ve correctly interpreted the park’s teasers, we can infer the following about the ride’s layout:
- “20. BE⊥TER than 4.” — The ride will feature 20 moments of airtime
- “3. BE⊥TER than none.” — The ride will feature 3 inversions
- “28. Makes it BE⊥TER.” — The ride will stand 28 feet taller than before, with a lift hill of 111 feet
What we don’t know: Though Kings Dominion has given us several clues as to the ride’s theme, we’re still pretty vague regarding the new storyline. Based on the park’s repeated use of the words wood and rotten, I would guess that we’ll see a “dark forest” theme. Perhaps the leafy inhabitants of Candy Apple Grove are reclaiming the park in a manner similar to Mystic Timbers at Kings Island.
— KDFans.com (@KDFansOnline) July 26, 2017
Knott’s Berry Farm
This past spring, Knott’s removed their Boomerang shuttle coaster, and all summer, the ride’s former site has been buzzing with construction. What will be taking Boomerang’s place? I previously predicted that Knott’s would be getting a first-of-its-kind Raptor model from Rocky Mountain Construction, but recent rumors have pointed towards California’s Great America getting the single-rail coaster instead. Now, whatever Knott’s Berry Farm has in store remains a bit of a mystery.
What we know: Knott’s closed Boomerang, a compact looping coaster, so it would make sense for the park to replace it with another looping coaster. Considering the limited space available, I would expect them to add a Gerstlauer Infinity coaster, a Premier Rides Sky Rocket II, or maybe even a Thunderbolt clone from Zamperla.
Also worth noting, Cedar Fair recently trademarked the name “The Ledge.” If the new coaster at Knott’s features a beyond vertical drop, this could be a potential name for the ride.
What we don’t know: At this point in time, there are a lot of unknowns regarding the details on the new ride. Unless the park starts pouring recognizable footers or posts a teaser, it looks like we’re going to have to wait for the official announcement to find out what Knott’s has up its sleeve.
California’s Great America
As I mentioned before, it now seems that California’s Great America will be getting the first-ever Raptor coaster in 2018. With its affordable cost, small size, and uncompromised thrills, this ride type sounds like the perfect addition for the park.
What we know: In June, Great America filed a permit for a 110.5 foot tall roller coaster in the location of the park’s former Invertigo ride. A construction fence has been erected around the site and a survey stake was spotted with the words “Project SR1” written on it. Could this stand for Single-Rail 1, indicating that the ride will indeed feature Raptor track?
Hinting at the new coaster’s theme, Great America left a pair of swerving tire marks outside the fence, along with a road sign pointing to “Accelr8,” Intimid8,” and Domin8.” And as a further clue, the park’s 2018 announcement invite touted the following statement: “California’s Great America blazes a new path in 2018. Embark on the adventure.”
Interestingly, Cedar Fair also trademarked the name Railblazer. If Great America’s new ride is blazing a new path (i.e. trailblazing) and its key characteristic is a single-railed track, Railblazer makes a perfect name.
What we don’t know: Since Railblazer will be the first ride of its type, the possibilities on the coaster’s layout are truly endless. Only one thing’s certain: Raptor coasters have a lot of potential, and Great America is going to pack a powerful punch in the first-ever single rail design.
What do you think about the new roller coasters coming to Cedar Fair parks in 2018? I find it interesting that the chain is investing so heavily in Rocky Mountain Construction. They must be pleased with the designs RMC has completed for Six Flags and other parks, because now it looks as if they’re getting not two but three RMC coasters in 2018.
If the rumors turn out to be true, 2018 will be a strong year for Cedar Fair. Stay tuned for the parks to make their announcements on August 16th. I’ll be in Cincinnati paying my respects to Kings Island when Cedar Fair reveals their plans, but I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on the new attractions when I get back in town.
Read next: Looking Ahead to the Coasters of 2018